Hulls: the outer covering of a fruit or seed, especially the pod of peas and beans, or the husk of grain.  
Palatable: pleasant to taste.

All the cereal grains are rich in carbohydrates which is present mainly in the form of starch. They are, therefore, rich in total digestible nutrients and energy. In addition, all the grains except rye are highly palatable to stock. Maize, wheat and the grain sorghums have the highest amount of total digestible nutrients, closely followed by barley and rye. Oats with their thick hulls are higher in fibre and so lower in digestible nutrients. The oil content of wheat, barley and grain sorghums is low, but oats and maize contain a fair amount of the constituent.

Maize is decidedly low in protein and the other grains are relatively low, averaging 10 per cent. The proteins are also of poor quality because of the inadequate amounts of certain of the essential amino acids such as lysine and tryptophan.

With the exception of yellow maize, none of the grains contain significant amounts of carotene or vitamin A. All the grains supply satisfactory amounts of vitamin E.

The dry matter content of cereals and by-products is usually in the range 85 – 90 percent; in countries with a dry climate, the value is 90 percent.

Maize, Zea mays

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 80%
    • C.P8 – 10%
    • D.C.P. – 6.5%

Maize is high in starch, very low in fibre and highly digestible. It is the most palatable of the cereals for farm stock. Most of the maize grown in Africa is white maize with an average Crude Protein of 8%. Yellow maize has a higher Crude Protein level of 10%. Maize protein has a low Biological Value because it is deficient in tryptophan and lysine, two of the essential amino acids. Most of the hybrid maize varieties produce grain with a lower protein content than the old open pollinated varieties. High protein hybrid varieties have been developed that produce grain with 11 – 15% protein, but they have low yields and are not economic. Maize is very low in calcium with only 0.02% Ca.

Maize grain is an excellent feed for both dairy and beef cattle and it should be ground through a screen of about 3mm. If this is not done, between 18 – 35% passes straight through the digestive tract of the animal as whole grains. Because it has a high energy value, maize is a very good feed for pigs and poultry, although the amount fed for pigs should be limited to about 40% of the ration to avoid an oily, soft fat in the carcass.

Flaked maize is made by cooking the grain to soften it and then passing it between hot rollers. It is finally dried in a current of hot air. The thin, crisp yellow flakes are almost wholly digestible and are an especially valuable feed for young animals. Furthermore, they have a beneficial effect on the physical constituency of rations.

Maize Cobs (or Cob Meal) (No grain)

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 45%
    • C.P. – 2.0%
    • D.C.P. – Negligible

Ground Maize Cobs are low-grade roughage which contain about 30% fibre and are very low in protein and minerals, e.g. 0.04% Phosphorus. If amply supplemented with protein or a mixture of protein and urea and minerals, and if made palatable with molasses, they provide a very useful feed for wintering young stock or beef cows.

Corn and Cob Meal

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 72%
    • C.P. – 7.5%
      Ensiled: put (grass or another crop) into a silo or silage clamp in order to preserve it as silage

D.C.P. – 5.5%

The cobs usually form about 20% of the weight of the corn and cob meal and the material is more bulky than ground corn. Corn and cob medium ground (screen size 1/8 inch) is an economical form in which to feed maize to beef cattle and fattening lambs. The daily gain is apt to be a little less than on ground corn but the cobs provide some of the roughage required in the ration. It is also a ‘safer feed than maize with regard to digestive disturbances. The substitution of corn-and-cob meal for maize in a pig ration usually results in a slower rate of growth, and a lean carcass.

The entire ear, wet early harvesting, when the moisture content is around 30% may be ground and ensiled. The product compares favorably in feed value with normal corn-and-cob meal.

When the entire corn ears in the husks are ground, the product is called ground snapped corn. It has a feed value slightly inferior to that of corn-and-cob meal (T.D.N. 69% C. Protein 5.0%)

Oats, (Avena sativa L)

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 70%
    • C.P. – 9 – 12%
    • D.C.P. – 7.5%

Of all the cereals, oats can be fed liberally with safety to all classes of stock, with the exception of pigs. They have the same general nutritional deficiencies as the other cereals and contain approximately 11% fibre. There is a great variation in the proportion of hulls in oats and consequently in their feeding value. The feeding value is inversely related to the hull content. On average they contain about 30% of hulls.

Oats should preferably be crushed or rolled before being fed to stock. Crushed oats are excellent for ruminants, and for dairy cows are worth 90% as much as ground maize. They are the standard cereal for horse feeds but are too high in fibre to be the chief concentrate in pig rations. For growing and

fattening pigs, oats should form not more than a quarter of the ration. Oats is excellent for poultry feeding and their comparative richness in manganese prevents perosis.

Wheat, (Triticum vulgare L)

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 80%
    • C.P – 10 – 16%
    • D.C.P. – 8.5 – 13%

Wheat is used mainly for human consumption, and only small quantities of damaged and broken grain are available for stock-feed. It resembles the other cereals in general nutritive characteristics. The protein content of wheat varies widely, depending on the climate, the variety and the soil fertility. Hard wheat has an average content of 13 – 15 per cent protein, whilst soft wheat is much lower averaging 10%.

Wheat meal should always be mixed with other feeds which are relatively high in fibre. On its own it is too glutinous and can cause dangerous digestive disturbances in pigs and horses. Cattle and sheep go ‘off feed’ or have indigestion when heavily fed on wheat. It is best fed in the crushed or coarsely ground state. Wheat is well liked by poultry and its value is slightly superior to maize.

Barley, (Hordeum vulgare L)

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 76%
    • C. P. – 9 – 11%
    • D.C.P. – 7.5%

In Africa, barley is not generally available as a stock feed. The imported grain is used in the brewing industry.

The protein and energy values of barley are between those of oats and maize and because of the hulls, which form about 15% of the grain, barley has 5% fibre. It has the same nutritive deficiencies as the other cereals.

Barley should be ground, rolled or crushed, except when fed to sheep, with whole grain to poultry. Barley is widely used in Europe as stock-feed and is particularly popular for pigs. The best bacon in the world is said to be produced from barley.

Grain Sorghum, (Sorghum vulgare Pers)

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 76%
    • C.P. – 9 – 11%
    • D.C.P. – 7.5%

The sorghums are of two general types – the sweet sorghums, their stems filled with sweet juice, and the grain sorghums, which usually have pithy stems. The sweet sorghums are grown for forage rather than grain. They are usually 1.5 to 2.5 metres tall or more and give large yields per hectare.

The two types of sorghum cross freely, whereby certain hybrid varieties have been developed which combine some of the more valuable characteristics of both. Many of the dwarf varieties, now so popular in the U.S.A. were developed by crossing milo with other sorghums. They grow only 0.6 to

1.25 metres tall and have erect heads, usually with dry, pithy stalks.

Millet, (Pennisetum typhoides)

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 80%
    • C.P. – 10 – 11,5%
    • D.C.P. – 8.0%

This millet is widely grown in parts of Africa, particularly by the African farmer. The small seed resembles maize in composition and feeding value but is appreciably higher in protein. It has a low fibre content (1.5 – 2.0%) and is also low in calcium. As with grain sorghums, the seeds should be ground for feeding to livestock. Millet is a valuable ingredient for pig feeds, since it has the same qualities as barley in promoting firmness and whiteness of fat (Calder, 1955). An excellent simple ration for self-feeding can be based on the following grain mixtures: 40% maize, 40% millet and 20% pollard. Care should be taken in feeding millet to breeding sows: in a wet season, the ergot content of millet may be dangerously high, and this may cause a type of agalactia (lack of milk) in sows.

Rupoko or Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana)

Feeding Value:

  • T.D.N. – 72%
    • C.P. – 6.5 – 7.5%
    • D.C.P. – 5.5%

Rupoko is millet widely grown in Africa for making beer. It has a lower protein content and nutritive value than munga, but a slightly greater fibre (3%). Before being fed to livestock the small seeds should be ground. Recent investigations (Calder, 1960) have shown that rupoko has the same effect as millet when incorporated into pig rations, as it counteracts the softening effects of maize. However, compared with millet, the pigs fed on rupoko have a less economical feed conversion and a slower growth rate. It is best fed to pigs during the finishing stage (above 63kg live-weight). It is advisable not to use rupoko in excess of 50% of the grain content of the ration, because of its inferior feed efficiency.